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Perspective and Reality

So, its Sunday… the day that I usually write… and, to be honest, all weekend I had planned to pass on writing a post. (I am actually supposed to be writing Part 2 of the post about collagen… stay tuned on that one.)  The last couple of weeks I have felt swamped, among other things, and have not managed to sit down long enough to focus on writing. I woke up this morning and went about my usual Sunday morning routine… I prayed before my feet hit the floor, made my coffee (and matcha), fed Nash, perused Instagram, email and my work schedule for the week… and headed to Orange Theory. All morning my plan was to workout, come home and shower, then just chill with Nash. I just didn’t feel like coughing up a blog. I could blame it on being exhausted, the time change, insomnia, my never-ending battle with anxiety, the roller coaster of menopause…(Lord, that’s another post)… or just assume that nobody gave a damn whether I wrote one or not, and just continue with my plans to be a lounge lizard for the rest of my Sunday.

I went on to Orange Theory and had a fantastic workout and a lot of fun. Some of the usual suspects were there, which always cranks it up a bit… and then…my day changed while stretching. After having my rear kicked, I started having a conversation with one of my workout buddies, Matt, as people were clearing out… and as many times as we had bantered in class, I never knew what he did for a living… come to find out he is a financial planner. So, I thought I would pick his brain for a second, while we were cooling down. I asked him… “what is the one thing that you tell your clients, no matter the age or financial status?” I was expecting some complex equation about the amount of money that needs to be saved, invested or God knows what, by this or that age… His answer was very simple. He told me…”I tell everyone three things:

1) make a plan and stick to it,

2) live below your means, and

3) Be content with what you have, no matter what it is.”

…and he continued… “and, I tell people to turn OFF the TV! Everything you hear in the news will make you think that the world is horrible and coming to an end at any moment, which leads you to make rash decisions.” WOW! (my dad would have agreed with everything he said!)

I got in the car and immediately did some Insta stories about Matt’s advice… it really resonated with me. I got in the shower and couldn’t get our conversation out of my head… for the financial aspects, but most importantly, the part about being content with what you have. I got out of the shower and my direct messages were blowing up with kudos for Matt’s advice… my mind kept churning… it made me think of Instagram and Social Media, in general. I have talked to so many people lately who are frustrated with Social media… and taking breaks from it… or unfollowing certain people… for one reason…for the most part, it is NOT reality. Sometimes seeing the “glamorous or perfect” world that people reveal can make you feel like you have missed something along the way… the whole, “keeping up with the Jones’ mentality” can kick in pretty easily if you let it. Now, I am in no way slamming anyone who lives a very lucrative lifestyle! I admire anyone who works hard and does well… I was raised by a father who exemplified hard work turned to success, parlaying into a nice life for his family… but with that said… Instagram/ Social Media and reality, are two different worlds!


The problem is that it becomes too easy to play the game of comparisons… thinking… wow, look at her house, straight out of Architectural Digest, or… her closet is bigger than my house, or… she looks that good that early in the morning?… or, look at their perfectly flawless family. You get my drift. Here’s what I know for sure… everyone… no matter how perfect they appear… has something. Let me say that again… everyone has something. Nobody sails through life looking like a continuous magazine spread 24/7, 365… and never has some type of trial or rough time in life. Hell, I wake up in the morning and look to see how flared up my rosacea is, but, oh wait… I cant see, so let me get my glasses first. I live in the same townehome that I bought 15 years ago after my “perfect marriage” hit the skids. I go to work every day… and come home pretty wiped out…and I’m easily content to make a salad, do a few chores, watch some aimless TV, snuggle with my dog and go to bed… to turn around and do it all again tomorrow… not in any way to say, “oh, poor me”… quite the contrary… I live a very full and happy life…


So, why am I rambling about this? Because it brings me back to Matt’s words… be content with what you have. If you get too ingrained in Social Media… it can lead you to feel like you need to have what someone else has… be it looks, possessions or family.( bigger, better, stronger, faster…) We are all dealt a different deck of cards… and we all play them differently. We all have a different path and we are all here for a certain purpose. Life is tricky. It is way too easy to lose sight of what is important, and get swept away with what someone else may be doing or what they may have, or, quite frankly, what they may have been blessed with. That is their path… not yours. If you are working hard and keeping your intentions in line… focus on you and what you are here for. We don’t always need to have more and more and more. I am not in anyway saying to settle for mediocrity. When hard work, success and all of the planets align, there is nothing wrong with providing the best possible life for you and/or your family. However, if you are striving for a life that is someone else’s, you will never realize the value of your own life path, the blessings that you have been bestowed and the ability to find true contentment and happiness with what is meant to be for you.

I am glad my day took this shift. It gave my perspective a boost.. and some affirmation that was necessary. There is a reason that my over- caffeinated butt went to OTF this morning. There is a reason that I had that discussion with a workout buddy. And on a much larger scale… there is a reason that my life has turned out the way it has… and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I see myself as a survivor. I am blessed beyond measure. I am able to go to work every day. I can do whatever I want, within reason… and I am rich… rich in fulfilling my life’s purpose. I am not this person or that person… I am Mary… the flawed girl with nine lives… who manages to laugh her way through this sometimes ridiculously, crazily, confusing thing called life… and I may not be completely content at times ,yet… but I am a work in progress.

Now, I still have some Sunday left, so, I better show that little golden retriever some love… and who knows… I just may squeeze in a nap. Here’s to YOU… and YOUR life journey… making the very most of it and being content with it… no matter what it may look like to someone else. Oh, and thanks, Matt… I bet you would never have guessed that you changed my day… and gave me a great reason to get back on the blog…see ya at the gym!





A Tribute to an Icon and dear friend, Margaret Ellis

I have always said, and truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. And, with that said, I think our paths cross at just the right time. We don’t meet people by chance. Yesterday, a dear friend of mine…and of many… passed away. I met this incredibly unique woman fifteen years ago, and from the very first time that I met her, I felt that I had known her all of my life. She is a Nashville Icon, jewelry designer, Margaret Ellis… pictured here with the two loves of her life, her husband Fred and their beloved dog Pinky… in their happy place, San Miguel, Mexico.

To say that Margaret was unique, is totally missing the mark. She was full of life, imagination, passion for so many causes, that were near and dear to her… and, well… she was just downright cool. She was a no BS kind of woman and she made a statement, whether she was trying to or not. She was welcoming and warm… and at the time in my life when I met her, that was exactly what I needed. I was in the Corporate world and newly divorced, and I remember as my weekly travels would bring me back into town, I would stop by the studio, (Margaret Ellis Jewelry, Nashville) and just hang out with her and Fred. Pinky was always there… and that made it all the more welcoming. I loved being in her creative world, surrounded by the jewelry that she had designed… Over the years our friendship grew… and so did my collection of her jewelry. She welcomed my ideas for new jewelry, and commissioned many pieces for me. To say that I have a drawer of Margaret Ellis Jewelry is no fabrication. From the very first bracelet and ring that I purchased from her, to the most elaborate commissioned items, that came to life from a drawing on a piece of paper … every one of them has a story. Over the coming weeks, I will be posting, on Instagram, some of my favorite items and the stories attached to them.

I will remember so many precious times at the studio, and in Margaret and Fred’s home. I remember one evening after a couple glasses of wine, she started taking pictures of me draped in Margaret Ellis jewelry… and I ended up as her “February girl” for a promotion. I remember so many “girl twirls”, as she coined them, after work at local eateries, close to their home in the Belmont area, at that time. I remember after a break up, calling her… in tears, and she said, “My dear, I think you just dodged a bullet! Now, come on over here, and let’s have a drink”. When I decided to make the big leap from Corporate America to Aesthetics… she was so happy for me… she knew I needed a change in my career and was sure that I was doing the right thing… she was one of my first clients. I specifically remember the night that I had dinner with her and Fred at their home in Nashville, just before they moved to San Miguel, and she gave me two gorgeous winter coats that she had purchased in New York, during freezing trips to market. She wanted me to have them, as she would no longer need them in her new life in Mexico.

Margaret was a gem… and how ironic is that… considering all of the gems that she handled in her life. She was a strong woman and a mentor to me in so many ways. She created jewelry and memories for so many people. She was a truly talented and creative soul… but most importantly she was my friend. Every time I would leave her, she would give me a huge hug and she would say, “love you”… Tonight, I have tears… I have lost a dear friend. But, I will always have the laughter and the love… and I will wear my Margaret Ellis jewelry with a new sense of pride.

My dear friend, may you Rest In Peace… “love you”




Getting Uncomfortable

A shameless selfie, videoing myself talking about random things for Insta Stories, doing tutorials about the way I fix my hair… and then posting it all for everyone to critique! A couple of years ago, I would have said, “Are you kidding? You couldn’t pay me…” Instagramming, blogging, photo shoots… using filters, not using a filter, sweaty pics, perfectly posed pics… some of it comes naturally, but a big part of it is a new world for me. I am “old school”… I didn’t grow up in this “digital” age. I didn’t use a computer until I was an adult, and that was only because I had to, in order to navigate the corporate world. I didn’t grow up in the digital era… we had a phone on the wall in the kitchen, and I had ten minutes to wrap that cord as far away from the kitchen as I could get it, until my “talk time” was up… because I was “tying up the line”… because… that’s right… voicemail was something that only the Jetsons would have had!  So, the fact that I am using a smartphone, to take a selfie, to filter, to post to Instagram… or talk to myself into my phone screen, while tagging someone, using emojis and captions … in order to make my Insta Story more meaningful… or finding the right light for a photo, for a blog, where I am really going to open myself up to criticism… I think you know where I am going with this… I have had to learn to get uncomfortable!! If someone had told me at 42 that I would be doing this at 52… well… hilarious!!

So, why am I blogging about this topic of “getting uncomfortable”? Because it is so important for growth in your life. It is the difference between staying in the safe lane… the comfort zone… or taking a risk that just might open a whole lot of new doors, or that might allow you a new hobby and an avenue of happiness or even a source of income, that you never even knew was possible! The comfort zone is just that… comfortable. It is easy and you know how to make it work… and it doesn’t rock any boats. However, the longer you stay there, the more comfortable it gets… and making any changes can become downright scary! Before you know it, time has passed… and did you ever go out on that limb and challenge yourself, or offer yourself the opportunity to find a whole new happy place? Well, my hope for you, is that you will… or you are… or you have, and as you are reading this, you are saying,”Amen sista!”

For some people, this may mean realizing that it is time to make a career change, for any myriad of reasons… I did that… it was a huge leap of faith, but it changed my life and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get crazy uncomfortable! For some, it may mean a relationship change… well… I did that too… it can be the most painful, scary, anxiety-ridden time of life, but in some cases it is necessary… and with a lot of faith and a little help from your friends… it too, can change your life… and yes, you grow, you learn, you become stronger, smarter and more able to tackle any challenge that may come your way… or better yet, you learn what to avoid. All of the above require a whole lot of getting uncomfortable… but in my case, I just think… what if I had stayed in the safe lane? WOW… And for some, it may mean just taking on a new hobby, that is going to pull you in a few new directions that may feel a little awkward at first. I get it! That’s where I am with this whole, blogging, Insta-stuff!

For a girl who grew up with a phone on the wall… this endeavor means trying a lot of new things to see what unknown adventure may happen. I look at it this way. I have a great job as an Aesthetician, that I love…but I have been blessed with a “Heinz 57” background and head full of ideas… and I have never been afraid of a challenge! I may not be loaded with a lot of “techy” skills, but an old dog CAN learn new tricks! I have a love for so many things. I was singing coming out of the womb, putting on lipstick when I was 3… and competing in several different sports by the time I was 6. I learned a sense of style from my parents at a very young age… and have fallen in love with a timeless look, both for fashion and home. I have had a mix of careers over the decades, that have taught me tenacity… so, now in my 50s, why in the world wouldn’t I share some of that love and learning with other people?! Why not get uncomfortable and put it out there on a platform? Well, like many people who are trying something new… it means more work, sacrifice, learning new skills, failing and recovering… and yes… the inevitable criticism from others. Lord, that’s a biggy! Here’s what I know, for sure… if you don’t try, you will never know… and people are going to “criticize” whether you stay in the safe lane or put yourself out there. It’s sad but true. Maybe it’s because they wish they had the chutzpah or moxie to do it, or they are jealous… or WHO CARES WHAT!! Girl, you do what you want to do! If it makes you happy and opens doors for you… or just gives you a feeling of excitement, or a newfound sense of self-esteem… go for it. Like they say… haters are gonna hate. Just kick a little dirt on that, and move on with the business of doing something new for you. YOU DO YOU!

I love to see women get creative and try new things. I enjoy watching what some of my other blogger friends and Insta girls are doing. I think it’s great to see busy moms take on a hobby that allows them a new alley, or corporate women finding ways to creatively shake it up just a bit. I love to watch chances become growth… and potentially, become success. We should all cheer each other on when we see someone trying something new and different. It feels good to be a positive force. It only helps us learn and grow in return. And what may come out of it, is the possibility that someone may be inspired to hop out of that obligatory “safe lane” or “comfort zone” and get a little uncomfortable. I would love to see this idea become contagious! I say… play on your strengths and the opportunities and ideas that you have. Don’t worry what others think… take a chance, possibly fail, recover, learn and most likely find some new joy… and quite probably… SUCCEED… no matter what your idea is… from the simplest to the wildest possible dream. Arrange those tools in your kit, and go get ’em!! And when you get scared or feel awkward or start to worry about being judged, just remember… that means that you are getting uncomfortable… and that, my friends… is the very first step! Here’s to changing lanes and getting uncomfortable! It’s a good thing… I’m cheering for you!



keeping your skin and the scale “in check” during the Holidays

And so it begins… the Christmas season has officially begun, and we know what that means. For a lot of us… temptation is everywhere, parties are in full swing, there is less time for the gym, later nights, less sleep and in general, stress.(too much to do and not enough time to get it done… along with the need to please almost everyone) Every year, it sounds good in the planning, but when it comes down to it, after a long day or a long week, it’s hard to fit all of the festivities in, not to mention the aftermath… a few extra pounds and some skin issues. All of the inflammatory foods, extra alcohol and missed workouts, can get you out of routine and into trouble… hence the obligatory New Years resolution… which is another blog post in itself… and Lord, you don’t want to hear my take on that topic!

So, what’s a gal to do? You want to enjoy good tidings, but you still have a schedule to keep! How do you do both. Well, you can, in moderation, with a few simple rules. Not to mention that nobody wants to start the New Year unable to fit into those new jeans, or with stressed, dehydrated, or blemished skin. I am no master at this, but I have learned a few things over the years, just by trial and error. I have a few simple rules, and I try my best to stick with them as much as is humanly possible. I have to keep in mind that my job takes a lot of my time and energy, and I don’t want to feel like crap during the jolliest time of the year, so therein lies a little motivation. So let’s discuss a few simple rules that I try to stick by in order to keep myself intact in an overindulgent season.

1. Stick to your normal routine

First of all, think about your normal routine and the things that are priorities in keeping you healthy and feeling good throughout the rest of the year. Everyone is different… but for me, there are some essentials… I have to have my sleep in order to feel like a human, but also to do my job well every day. I have to eat clean and exercise regularly to stay healthy and energized. Also, my skincare routine cannot take a back seat, no matter now sleepy I am at night. So, it’s a matter of juggling a little more during a busy season, but maintaining those basic priorities, and trust me… I still have plenty of fun!

So, I try to keep those priorities intact when the calendar starts to fill up… by following a few “holiday guidelines” … which are really simple… and at the end of the season, I am glad I did.

2. Plan, prepare and hydrate

I don’t try to make every single party that I am invited to. It’s not humanly possible with my crazy work schedule and responsibilities of my “one woman show”. People understand… or they should! When I do attend a party, especially on a “school night”, I leave when I need to leave. Not everyone has the same hours, so I don’t feel bad about leaving at a decent hour. I usually eat something healthy before I go, so that I don’t graze endlessly on a smorgasbord of Holiday treats. I usually allow myself one cocktail, but I enjoy it and drink it slowly. I try to steer clear of the sweets, and if I do snack, I shoot for the protein or veggies provided. I drink water throughout the evening. I keep water in my car, so I can hydrate on the way home before bed. (The older I get, the less I tolerate alcohol) I always wash my face before bed and keep my normal routine. As for my workouts… I try not to miss… but inevitably, some later evenings drain me, and there are some mornings that I don’t have the energy to work out and go to work… so I allow myself a pass … but not more than one a week. I try to allow a little more rest time on the weekends, and I have learned to listen to my body.

3. Be mindful of not letting yourself get overwhelmed

The Holidays are a fun-filled, yet stressful time of the year for many. We have a tendency to overextend ourselves and feel the need to make everyone happy… which quite frankly, is impossible, and only leaves you feeling like the Grinch by the time the big day roles around. Most people end the Holiday season exhausted and wishing they could undo a little of the overindulgence. So, make the Holiday season a fun time, and be reasonable about it. Be mindful of not letting yourself get overwhelmed… before the season ever begins. Know your boundaries. If you are one that requires very little sleep, can party with the best, and still be fully functioning the next day, then by all means… jingle on! However, for most working adults, those days are few. Do what is feasible for you, your schedule and your family, and try as much as possible to stick to your normal routine, eating habits and exercise schedule. You will be surprised if you set out with that mindset how easy it really is… and how glad you will be that you did. Trust me, you can have just as much fun, be just as jolly, a lot less hungover… and hopefully keep the scales and your skin intact! Now, how about starting a New Year on that note! I’ll take it for sure. Here’s to a fun filled Holiday season… that leaves you merry and bright!





Thanksgiving… the almost forgotten Holiday

Tis the season… the season when all the Holidays run together into one big jingle bell. It’s 90 degrees outside in Nashville, in late September and you can waltz into Target, looking for toilet paper and be reminded that Christmas is just around the corner. WHAT? I haven’t even purchased the first pumpkin! There is an aisle dedicated to Halloween candy and costumes, which is even a little premature in my opinion, but one aisle over, the yard decor is being carted out and Holiday lights and Christmas trees are being rushed in… and Holiday music is slowly crescendoing. Now… please, don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, for what it is supposed to be… but aren’t we forgetting about something? Oh yeah, that low profit Holiday that falls in between. You know the one… Thanksgiving.

When I was younger, I remember every single holiday had it’s time… one at a time, and each one was cherished for what it was and what it resembled and how it brought out true joy in people… for their own reasons. Halloween was about candy and costumes and friends getting together, going from house to house, to see who could get the most candy in their plastic pumpkin…only to have our parents ration it out over the following weeks. Then came Thanksgiving… gathering together over a turkey dinner with family, knowing that inevitability you would over eat, then relax with your family, only to eat a little more. Then, came Christmas… and all of the joy and excitement that it brought. Each holiday, it’s own season, with it’s own memories attached. When did that change? I don’t really know… but I can tell you this, as antiquated as it may sound… after my mom had spent days preparing a Thanksgiving meal, with all of the prep and details, and nuances that made it so special… if anyone had even thought of racing through that meal, to fly out the door, to go stand in line at some big box store for a TV… Oh Lord… I can’t even imagine!!!

Therein lies my theory… and please don’t take this the wrong way… because I was born and raised with entrepreneurial genes, and “the early bird gets the worm” mentality… and working hard to make a good wage… however… and this is a BIG however… there has been a huge shift in society as a whole… and the bottom line is that Thanksgiving is not profitable to fourth quarter earnings, and it does nothing, other than for Butterball sales, God love ’em… to end the year on a “strong close” for the large corporations of the world. It saddens me, but it’s true… I’ve worked in the big corp world, where fourth quarter is everything… it is do or die, year endings, bonuses, raises and promotions… all based on it. In the broad scheme of things, I’m not bashing big corporations… sales is sales… but is anything sacred anymore? I mean… why do you think the day after Thanksgiving is called “black Friday” anyway? … Because it’s the final push for retailers to get out of the red (profit loss) and in to the black. So, why even wait until Friday… let’s just start that profit gain in the middle of our Thanksgiving dinner… or even earlier. Uuuuuuuuugh! Ok, I think you get my point. In my “old school” opinion, Thanksgiving gets overlooked, and I find that to be pretty sad.

We live in a very chaotic world right now. In my time, I have never seen society more in a state of unrest. We are all in a mad rush for something, consumed with things that have nothing to do with the meaning of happiness, and all to find, that it only brings us anxiety and a yearning for peace. Turning on the TV, for the most part, only reminds us that there is so much hate and disconnect in our world. It has become the cool thing to say that we all just need to “come together”… but are we buying into a cliche, without any action? To me, Thanksgiving is the most important holiday of all… especially now. It’s not about things … it’s about people. It’s not about monetary gains, but something bigger. No matter who you are, what you believe, on what side of the aisle you fall… or how you choose to celebrate… it is one day that you can stop and think about something to be grateful for. It is a time when, as hard as it can be for some, we gather… not to receive something, but to just simply be together… to come together. It’s a time that I think, quite frankly, we all need, whether it’s for a party of two or twenty two. We need to laugh and reminisce, we need to hug and hold someone’s hand. We need to say thank you to someone for no reason. Most importantly we need to show gratitude and gratefulness. We all have our burdens to bare… but beyond that, we are blessed beyond measure in some form.

There is plenty of time to deck the halls and celebrate another beautiful holiday…however, my hope is that this Thanksgiving, you will feel warm from the inside out. I wish, more than anything, that those who are hurting will find some peace… and those who are lonely, will feel the love that only another soul can deliver. My prayer this Thanksgiving is that we will “come together” and be filled with the meaning of this holiday, if only for a day… that all of the ramblings of the world will be silenced, and togetherness will heal. Tell someone that you love them, laugh over dinner, hug like never before…and soak it all in. This day only comes around once a year. It is up to us… up to you… and up to me… to make Thanksgiving meaningful … and who knows… maybe it will just spill over into the holiday rush.

My warmest wishes for a Thanksgiving of togetherness…




Thank God… I’m aging!

Some of you may read the title to this blog post and think I’ve gone nuts! What? I’m excited about aging? What about all of this anti- aging stuff… and what about the fact that I am an Aesthetician… doesn’t that mean that I am helping people turn back the hands of time? Aren’t we trying to look younger? And, isn’t it cool to think that 50 is the new 30?… because we are better, stronger, faster, hipper?  Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! Who in the world decided that we were supposed to be the Bionic Woman!? Society has given the word “aging” a bad connotation… as if, because we are aging… we are old, not looking so spry, we are washed up or tired or not “with it” anymore. Here’s the fact, Jack… every minute that the clock turns, you are aging… whether you want to or not… and you can either use time as a means to gain wisdom and grow… or you can stress yourself to death about it!

I remember when I turned 40, thinking that this was “the biggie”… and I was in dread. It could have been where I was emotionally, or what was happening in my career life… but nothing could have been further from the truth! Then… I remember the year that I turned 50… I was really excited about it! I wanted to party down and celebrate it… and I did… in a large way… my friends pulled out the stops and I danced all night… then two weeks later, I headed straight to Turks and Caicos to continue my 50th celebration. I set out to make it a great year… and it was! My point… it’s a mindset. I don’t mean that you have to party like it’s 1999… I just think that you should celebrate the ability to be blessed with another year. In contrast… this week I turned 52 and I chose to keep it low key and just relax… and I was absolutely thrilled with that.

The chronological clock is going to assign to you a new number every year, but that does not define you. How you think, what you believe, how you live, how you choose to face each day… and what you want out of life are the things that define you. If 52 is the new 32, then I’ll take a pass on that, because I am a different person than I was when I was at 32, in so many ways. Now… would I like to have my 32 year old energy and collagen supply? Probably so, but I have traded that for 20 years of trial and error… heartache that brought strength, tenacity, and a kind of wisdom that only comes from age and time. Yep, maybe my body aches a little more, I can’t do late nights anymore, it takes me a little longer to get rolling in the morning… and I don’t look like I did when I was 32, and that’s ok. What I would tell my 32 year old self at 52, is to count every blessing, don’t take anything for granted and know that there are changes ahead… so build a strong base and a solid core, so that rolling with the punches is not a hard thing… it is just a means to a new phase of life.

So… then there is the quandary of trying to look younger… those moments when you look in the mirror and see wrinkles… or you realize that your body is changing with an aging metabolism. I think, in a way, that it is yours to control. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look as young as you feel… to do things that allow you to feel better about yourself. Hey, I am an Aesthetician… I get it! I believe in keeping myself healthy and strong to elongate well being. I also think that it is fine to take care of your exterior, in moderation, to match your personality or your state of mind. We all want to feel refreshed and feel good when we pass a mirror… let’s be honest. However, if you are chasing the fountain of youth, like a 100 yard dash, by every means possible, because you think that it is going to make you happy or help you fix a problem, or you are trying to look like someone that you are not… you can count on turning that sprint into a marathon, and “run Forrest run!!” That glorious fountain of youth is never going to fix what is going on within. A strong inner core, a sense of well being and inner peace comes first every time.

I honestly believe that you are as old as you decide to be. If you think that you are “old”, than that is what you will portray. I have learned over time that age IS truly just a number… and from day to day that chronological number is going to change… but for me, what is not going to change is my ability to decide how I want to be authentically portrayed. I hope to be portrayed as more wise and steadfast in who I am. I am grateful for every day, for my health, for my people and my ability to just be. I have realized that I have earned some extra smile lines… I’m just glad I am smiling. I have learned that being solid from the inside out has taken some practice, and I will always be a work in progress. I’m not counting the numbers anymore… I am counting the blessings. I am grateful for the little things, the laughter and the lessons. I honestly think that those are the things that are keeping me young at heart. So, no matter what your age, stand up tall, put on some lipstick and a fabulous outfit… and decide that you are as young as you want to be… oh, and don’t forget your accessories! Cheers to the years… and that chronological clock… it’s a good thing!






Mentors and Life Changers

I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, even if just for a little while…they cross our path for a certain purpose…we may not always know why, but they play a role, be it big or small, and for an instant or for a lifetime, it makes an impact. Sometimes these people are merely acquaintances that we look back on fondly… and sometimes they are those who are life changers… the people that help us discover what we want, how we want to live or what we want to be. I had a Junior High School music teacher who influenced me in such a positive way musically, that I wanted to make music my career and went on to major in music in college. He was a mentor in every sense of the word. He has owned the infamous Shuff’s Music in Franklin, TN for almost 40 years and is still going strong. Music was my first love and is a huge part of my soul…if not for him, I may not have had some of the incredible experiences that were yet to come in my musical life.

Many years later and about fifteen years ago, I went to get a facial at the place that I had been to several times. The girl that I had seen was no longer there, so I booked with another Aesthetician. To be quite frank… the previous girl was pretty good, but I was an exhausted, stressed and highly tense corporate girl… so I just looked forward to laying down and having someone rub on me in a peaceful room. That day, I had the best facial that I could remember… I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but this girl was different. So, from then on I booked with her. I remember always looking forward to getting off of the road and heading to that facial. This person had a touch, an ability to get me to relax, an unexplainable demeanor… and my skin never looked better! When she changed locations, I followed her… I told my friends about her, and they started to book as well. Over the years we became friends and in my appointments, I found her to be someone I could talk to… bless her heart… I dumped my divorce, career stress, and personal struggles on her while she was trying to do her job… but her advice was always whole hearted, loving and confidential.

I was driving back to Nashville, after a long work week, with nearly two decades of Corporate stress, that had accumulated upon my last nerve…  and I realized that I was literally spent. I was at my whits end with my career… but as a single gal… you can’t just give your notice and pray to the “career gods” that something fabulous would just fall in your lap. I was doing very well and had climbed the corporate ladder to a position that a lot of people would have given anything for… that is, until that shoe is on that foot. I knew that there was nothing about my career that I loved, that inspired me or that made me excited to get out of bed in the morning. I was doing it for the money… and it owned me. I felt pressure like never before, and all I knew was that I had a facial at 3:00, and come hell or high water… I was going to get back to Nashville… I knew that just for that time, I could turn my brain, (and my phone) off and zone out… then, I would get right back to my dilemma, and the numerous messages that I would need to return.

That afternoon, my whole life changed. I remember waiting in the lobby, thinking how peaceful it was and how amazing it would be to work in that world. I loved everything about it. Over the years, I had become so passionate about skincare, as I learned more and more about it. Once I got in to the facial, it didn’t take her two seconds to read exactly where I was. The discussion went from my career dilemma, to aesthetics…. I knew I loved skincare… but had never even thought… my corporate mind would never have allowed me to go there. She told me that she was about to expand her business, and that she was looking for a winner… my wheels started turning and I asked her everything I needed to know… I would have to go to school for a year, if I could find availability in a program, take my state boards, get my state license and build a clientele…. no quick and easy feat. It would mean about 18 months before I would see a real income. She had faith in me and offered the chance but wanted me to take time and really think. I knew in that moment, exactly what I wanted… and my 401k, pension, corporate salary, bonuses, commissions, expense account, car allowance, gas card, benefits and who knows what else, would NOT distract me. In less than a day, my mind was made up. I think I threw her off guard by making the decision so quickly… but when you are done, you’re done. It took me all of 24 hours to make sure I could cover myself financially, I prayed and I called her… and, I walked away from Corporate America… and the rest, as they say, is history.

For six years I have been practicing Aesthetics and I have never looked back… not once. I am doing what I love… what I was meant to do… and I am living. I am a different person than that crazy girl in a suit, stuck in the “glamorized” corporate rat race. I took the biggest leap of my life… I put it all on the table… because of her. I knew I could trust her and I knew I could do it. There was nothing easy about that 18 months, but it flew by. Over the years, I have learned from her, I have grown with her and I am proud to call her my boss and my dear friend. She is Nasi Hugh, the owner and lifeblood of Skin MB Medspa and truly, the most talented Aesthetician, with more experience in the Medical Spa business, than anyone in Nashville. She has built a business and a team that I love. She is my mentor, and all I can say is thank you… oh, and also… I’m really glad that other girl quit, fifteen years ago… because I met this Aesthetician named Nasi, and little did I know, in that first facial all those years ago, that I met her for a reason… she was going to offer me an opportunity to change my life… and now, the sky is the limit. Here’s to the people out there who pave the way, who don’t even know that maybe one day, they will make a life changing impact on someone… trust me, it happens.



The Skincare product Junkie Rabbit hole

What if I told you that the average woman wears approximately $8 worth of skincare and/or cosmetics per day, which adds up to roughly $250 a month, which becomes nearly $200,000 in a lifetime… and that statistic is a year old… and on the conservative side! I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot  with $200,000!! So my question is… is it working for you? Are you achieving the look that was promised to you in the packaging or sales spiel? Do you keep buying more products, thinking that the next one is going to be better than the last, because you saw an infomercial, or a an advertisement, or your favorite celebrity swore it was her only go to, or a blogger, who wears the cutest clothes, said it was gold, or my personal favorite…”a clinical study showed that eight out of ten women saw an eighty percent improvement in their skin!!!” For the love of your wallet, your precious time and energy, and your sanity… stop the madness!! Nothing at all against anyone who is genuinely trying to sell you something that is truly in your best interest, or writing about a product that they personally happen to love… but let’s separate fact from commission and get you out of a downward spiral that I refer to as the “skincare product junkie rabbit hole.”

Fact… the projection for skincare product sales in the U.S. alone in 2018 is over $11 billion. Now… I’m an Aesthetician and I sell skincare products, so I should be jumping for joy! When in reality, I spent nearly twenty years in sales and marketing, so pardon the expression, but “the gig is up!” I get asked  every day if I have heard of this mask or that device… or that serum from a raccoon…. ok, no raccoon serum, but you get my drift… it is over the top, and the reason being is that most of us will fall for anything, if we think it is going to make us look or feel younger or prettier… or if our favorite celebrity swears by it. There is a reason that packaging is so enticing, endorsements are so sincere and we keep seeing the latest and greatest in our social media feed… sales and marketing… and clearly, it’s working! So, what is my point? As an Aesthetician and a skincare coach, who has also been on the other side… in the world of sales and marketing, driven by sales goals, commission, spiffs and promotions… I want to simplify this whole process for you, help you become a little more savvy, the next time you are about to cave, and most of all, help you save your money for the products that are tried and true and dermatologically proven efficacious and safe.

Ok, if I were to ask you how many skincare products are in your bathroom, what would you say? My guess would be more than you actually need. My guess would also be, probably some that you rarely use, and plenty that aren’t doing a darn thing for your skin. So let’s talk about the products that are the foundation of good skincare and then a few that are also great to have on board. Let’s get your skincare routine down to as few as three to five products, aside from the two that go without mentioning, cleanser and sunscreen, because of course you are going to cleanse every morning and every night… and the importance of daily sunscreen makes it a must every single day, regardless!

The foundation of good skincare can be remembered in the acronym ACE. That is:

  • A, for a vitamin A product, be it Reitin A, or a derivative of it, a retinol, for exfoliation and cell turn over. If you are too sensitive for Retin A, some type of light exfoliating product on a regular basis is needed in order to keep dead skin from accumulating on your face.
  • C, for vitamin C products, typically in a serum form. Vitamin C is the number one antioxidant for your skin that helps to protect your skin from the effects of aging, not only for its role in collagen synthesis, but also as it helps to neutralize free radicals in the skin that cause aging… and let’s not forget the glow that it gives the skin over time. I also like to include, in this antioxidant category, healthy peptides which are usually found in many Vitamin C serums. They go hand in hand with Vitamin C, as they are the the building blocks for healthy youthful skin.
  • Then, E, which is for vitamin E, which is the moisture that is required to keep your skin hydrated and balanced. There are numerous moisturizers on the market, which we will detail in another post… but try to choose one that allows for good hydration without being comedogenic (pore clogging).

In my opinion ACE is the healthy skin foundation triad. Two other products that I highly recommend, would be a good eye cream, as the eye area is the most delicate skin on the face and shows aging first, then also some type of skin lightener, to even the skin tone… because as diligent as we may be over time, hyperpigmentation is just a fact of life for most of us. There are different types of skin lighteners, such as hydroquinone or kojic acid, both of which are commonly found in combination with a vitamin C product. (Please note that all of this information is based on your individual skin type and possible skin allergies.)

So, there you have it! You don’t need a multitude of serums and toners and potions and creams. You actually need very few things, when you really dissect the needs of the skin. The skin needs cleansing, exfoliation, hydration and protection from the sun. That’s it!! As a matter of fact, throwing too many products and ingredients on your skin can easily lead to skin sensitivities over time. Keep it simple… give your skin only what it needs to be healthy and save yourself a lot of time and money. Also, try to separate skincare products from makeup. Look to your dermatologist or aesthetician for your skincare products. Save that trip to the makeup counter for just that… makeup. It will actually feel good to walk past the skincare aisle and know that you are not going to fall into that dreaded “skincare product junkie rabbit hole”… and that, my friends, is a victory! Your wallet will thank you!




Why “Beyond Skin”


How do you define beautiful? How do you define happiness? How do you define fulfillment? In a world of airbrushed, photoshopped magazine covers, it’s easy to get a little confused in the authentic meaning of these words. When young girls, and even women, today idolize and want to emulate certain realty stars, and social media queens, who are mostly famous for nothing other than their high maintenance, exterior beauty and supposedly glamorous and perfect lives, the definition of “true beauty” becomes scewed. It is easy to see how youth of today can be drawn to believing that, if only they looked like them or had their lives…everything would be great… when, in “reality”, nothing could be farther from the truth. Influencers of today, big or small, have a responsibility to be real… without creating the perception of perfection at all times. My point being, beauty, happiness and the ability to seem fulfilled can easily be misconstrued, if we are only taking in to consideration what we see… if we are only exposed to the exterior.

As an Aesthetician, I take pride in seeing people feel beautiful and better about their skin. I love what I do for a living! Having the ability to help someone get into a healthy skin routine, or feel a little bit more refreshed, more vibrant and even a little younger, is beyond rewarding. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, look as young as you feel… or even have the urge to correct something about your exterior… however, if that is what you are resting your happiness upon, don’t look to be fulfilled.
My “Beyond Skin” philosophy is where beauty begins. Three things for me that are musts:

  • Surround yourself with positive people that lift you up.
  • Take care of your temple… healthy mind, healthy body.
  • Take time every day, no matter what kind of day it is, to laugh really hard.

We need to do whatever it takes to get to a place of feeling whole, healthy and strong on the inside, so that no matter what happens to our exterior, we can still feel truly good about ourselves and have something of value to offer. It is a feeling of knowing that you are capable of anything, that you can accomplish anything, and you can handle anything… with grace. It is true confidence before appearance. That is where strength and independence becomes alive. It is knowing that love and compassion are a much stronger force than a flawless exterior. It is drawing from genuine people, life changing experiences and the simplest joys of life. It is that unfiltered, unposed, smile and the ability to let go and just laugh… To me, that is happiness, beauty and fulfillment… that is “Beyond Skin”. It is the foundation to true beauty… then, everything else is just a bonus. So here’s to beauty… true, authentic beauty… from the inside out.



I am right where I am suppose to be

I never would have dreamed twenty or even thirty years ago that I would be in the place that I am now. If I had to throw an arrow at my future picture back then, I would have miserably missed the mark of where I am today… but little would I have even been able to understand, at that time, I was right where I was suppose to be. As I look back over the uniquely contrasting chapters of my life, I see a beautiful collision that was necessary to bring me to this point. The little, athletic, musician, with a love for all things beautiful, went on to chase her dreams, only to detour several times, having no idea of the maneuvers that she would learn, in order to navigate… and the strength that she owned.

As life would have it, my path turned from what I wanted to do, to what I had to do, only to convince myself that I was in the best possible place. A creative person in the world of high pressure corporate sales for nearly two decades, is a contradiction in itself. But, being that competition was in my blood, I made a success of working for a two of the largest medical organizations in the world, and in the midst of chasing numbers, and corporate initiatives, I hit a wall. Little did I know at that time… I was right where I was suppose to be. I honestly believe that if you don’t come to “that place” you may not make the next move, that could very possibly lead to something wonderful. The same mantra only held true for me in so many other phases of my life… through every high and every low, through every tear and grasp for understanding… I was right where I was suppose to be. Every step is a lesson. Every situation is an opportunity to learn and grow. Without that, you miss the pains through which wisdom and strength are gained.

So… today, I feel like I have come full circle. The last six years have been a dream career of being an Aesthetician in the best possible environment. That little, creative, athletic girl, with a love for all things beautiful, is living a life of health and wellness… spending her days continuously learning new and innovative ways to make people look and feel beautiful, grateful for each face that leaves a treatment, glowing in more ways than one. The rewards in that are genuine. Now, the journey continues… my creative side has come alive with the need to share so many things that go beyond exterior beauty… beyond skin. Of course, my favorite skincare and beauty “tips and tricks” will be topics… and most likely my love for style… but more importantly, my hope is that women of all ages will find value in the understanding that taking care of what is visible and neglecting what is behind the exterior, is missing the boat. I will discuss the need for self love and self care, inner strength and independence. Owning these qualities is where beauty is born. Without that base, all of the beauty tricks in the world are worthless. The most beautiful people are those who are truly happy and strong in confidence. I hope to inspire you to take a step towards something new, as scary or intimidating as it may seem… This journey is new for me, and I am excited to see what this phase will bring. I hope that you will join me in this endeavor, drawing from my past, learning from every second of the present and ready for the future. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt… that I am right where I am suppose to be.

Well wishes,